Retired High School Teacher Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Engage in Illicit Sex with a Minor
Project Safe Childhood
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a retired high school teacher in Sedalia, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to arranging to meet a woman and her 14-year-old daughter (actually an undercover law enforcement officer) for illicit sexual activity.
Paul Robert Cannon, 71, of Sedalia, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to attempting to induce a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity.
According to court documents, Cannon posted an advertisement on Craigslist on Jan. 18, 2016, entitled “Grandpa looking for a couple with kids.” The posting read, “Grandpa looking for a couple that would like to include their kids in sexual fun. White man, very discreet, very safe, retired teacher, and well endowed. Age and race are not an issue.”
On Jan. 21, 2016, a detective with the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department responded to the Craigslist advertisement, portraying himself as a single mother with a 14-year-old daughter. Over the next six days, the detective exchanged numerous e-mails with Cannon. In these exchanges, Cannon described various sex acts he intended to perform with the minor daughter. He also offered to have sex with both the mother and minor daughter together and said he was looking for “a continuing relationship.” The detective also exchanged numerous texts with Cannon in which Cannon described various sex acts he intended to perform with the minor daughter.
The undercover detective arranged to meet Cannon at a Columbia, Mo., restaurant this afternoon. Cannon offered to buy lunch for the mother and daughter before going to their residence for a sexual rendezvous. When Cannon arrived at the restaurant, he was redirected to another nearby restaurant, where he was arrested.
Under federal statutes, Cannon is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the FBI and the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."